For some reason, I get this way sometimes: I prefer to be reading multiple books at once (well, not EXACTLY at once), dipping into each one as the mood hits me. This morning, I realized that the number has piled up:
1. The first Skulduggery Pleasant book, a YA magical-sorcery-thingy which Lyvvie recommended as an example of someone who writes 12-year-olds well. Her daughter loves the stuff. And while I can see the attraction to a pre-teenaged girl (the heroine is strong, intelligent, and brave), there isn’t much meat here for the adult reader of YA. My vote is still for the Bartimaeus Trilogy, which admittedly is aimed at an older YA crowd, but has enough humor and depth to appeal to the adult reader. And while the protagonist is male, one of the main characters is, you guessed it, a strong, intelligent, and brave young woman.
2. Still working my way through China Mieville’s The Scar. This is one of his earlier works, and I tend to like his more recent novels better. The Scar is just on the cusp of eh, think I’ll put this one down for now. But I’m 3/4 of the way through and haven’t given up yet. There simply isn’t enough there: not enough action, not enough appeal to the characters or plot, not enough of Mieville’s signature weirdness. All it has going for it is a bit of narrative drive. I want to know what happens next.
3. I’m rereading Crime and Punishment . . . again, as the mood hits. I read it between 9th and 10th grade, I think, and wanted to revisit it as an adult. I may not finish it; every time I pick it up, I want to slap Raskolnikov upside the head. He’s a very Hamlet-like character in the way he dithers, and I’ve never much liked Hamlet.
4. When I have nothing to read but Nook on my cellphone, I turn to James Ellroy’s The Cold Six Thousand, a novel about the two Kennedy assassinations and the MLK assassination. Lots of dish on J. Edgar Hoover, Jimmy Hoffa, various mobsters, etc. Who cares if it’s fiction; it reads like a dramatization of true events. And who doesn’t want confirmation that the JFK assassination was a fix from the highest powers? (Yup, God wanted JFK dead.) (Kidding, kidding!) I’m reading this mostly because I find Ellroy’s style so fascinating: staccato, brutally stark. Ellroy himself described the style as “ugly.” Plus, it’s fascinating how well he evokes the early 60s.
5. And when I have to have an actual paperback in my hands, I’m reading/rereading Tim Powers’s time travel novel, The Anubis Gates. First time I tried reading this many years ago, I bogged down at around page 120. The time travel gimmicks struck me as just a wee bit too coy and obvious. Now I’m at page 265 and I’m finally hooked. I enjoyed it more this time around (the first half, that is), and in retrospect I think I abandoned it for a number of reasons. Powers suffers from the too-much-research problem (. . . and I have to share all of it with you) and yet he occasionally screws up, as when one of the minor characters in the 1600s calls sausages ’sawfages.’ Just because typesetters used that f-thingy for internal s’s doesn’t mean people PRONOUNCED it that way. Jeez. Anyway, I’m skimming through all of the dense descriptive bits and having a much better go of it.
So what are y’all reading?